CANOE fraudster John Darwin has been ordered by a court to make a lump sum payment of £40,000 after two pensions matured.

A Proceeds of Crime Act hearing at Teesside Crown Court heard he had so far only paid back £121 of the £679,073.62 he was found to have benefitted from after faking his own death in 2002.

Darwin, 63, of Seaton Carew, near Hartlepool, did not challenge the application by the Crown to have the money removed from his bank accounts, which are the subject of restraints.

Loading article content

The pensions were understood to be legitimately earned from his time as a teacher and a prison officer.

After the hearing Jolyon Perks, who prosecuted, said this was not the end of the matter for Darwin and further applications would be made if he came into more money.

"We believe it sends a strong signal to those who seek to benefit from their criminal conduct," Mr Perks said. Darwin did not comment as he left court. It was the same venue where he was jailed with his wife, Anne, in 2008 for fraud.

Mrs Darwin, now separated from her husband, has repaid more than £500,000 under a separate Proceeds of Crime order after selling properties held in her name. She still has £177,000 to pay.

Darwin was reported missing in a canoe in the North Sea in March 2002. His wife collected more than £500,000 in life insurance payouts and the pair fled to Panama. In 2007, Darwin returned to the UK and handed himself in to police, claiming amnesia. They were both jailed for six years and six months in 2008.